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Chinese Crispy Pork Belly Recipe

Chinese crispy pork belly is a beloved dish that showcases the culinary prowess of Chinese cooking.

With its perfect combination of succulent meat and crispy, crackling skin, it’s no wonder that this dish has won the hearts of food lovers worldwide.

As you dive into the world of Chinese crispy pork belly, prepare to be amazed by the incredible flavors and textures that await you.

In traditional Chinese cooking, there are two highly celebrated dishes: Peking duck and crispy pork belly.

While Peking duck can be challenging to make in a home kitchen, pork belly, on the other hand, is entirely doable.

Throughout the process of making this dish, I’ll give you the insights to get that fantastic crispy skin and tender meat.

I’ll help you understand the importance of choosing the right pork cut and mastering the art of poking holes in the rind will set you up for success.

With this knowledge, you can confidently prepare this delicious recipe, delighting your taste buds and loved ones.

How to Make Chinese Crispy Pork Belly

chinese crispy pork belly recipe

Ingredients List

To make Chinese Crispy Pork Belly, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 slab of skin-on pork belly (about 1-2 kg)
  • 1 tbsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 6 tbsp coarse salt (for salt crust)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

Step-by-step process

Step1: Preparation

First, prepare your workspace by making sure it is clean and organized.

Gather all of your ingredients and equipment, including a sharp metal skewer.

Step 2: Score the skin

Use the sharp metal skewer to poke lots of holes evenly and systematically all over the pork belly skin.

This will allow the fat to render and crisp up the skin during cooking.

Step 3: Season the pork

Flip the pork belly over to expose the meat.

Mix the five-spice powder, 2 tsp kosher salt, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl.

Rub this spice mixture thoroughly into the heart.

Step 4: Crisp the skin

Turn the pork belly skin-side up.

Make sure it is scorched.

Gently rub the skin with vinegar, and then evenly sprinkle the coarse salt to form a salt crust, leaving a 1cm perimeter around the edges.

Step 5: Preheat the oven

Preheat your oven to 240°C (465°F).

Step 6: Roast the pork belly

Place the pork belly on a baking rack, skin-side up.

Roast the pork belly in the preheated oven on the top rack, nearer to the heating element, for 15-20 minutes.

Step 7: Remove the salt crust

After the initial roasting time, remove the pork belly from the oven and carefully brush off the salt crust.

Step 8: Continue roasting

Lower the oven temperature to 180°C (355°F) and return the pork belly to the oven for an additional 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches around 70°C (160°F) and the skin has become crispy.

Step 9: Rest and serve

Allow the pork belly to rest for about 10 minutes to ensure tenderness.

Once rested, slice the crispy pork belly into bite-sized pieces and serve.

Side Dishes for Chinese Crispy Pork Belly

Chinese crispy pork belly dishes are well-known for their signature crackling and delightful taste.

As you indulge in this savory dish, pairing it with the perfect side dishes that complement its rich flavors is essential.

In this section, you’ll find a list of side dishes that enhance the deliciousness of your Chinese pork belly and create a complete and satisfying meal.

Egg Fried Rice

With Chinese cuisine, it’s hard to go wrong with egg-fried rice.

It offers a unique blend of textures and flavors, creating a nourishing base that perfectly complements the crispy pork belly.

To make egg-fried rice, combine jasmine rice, soy sauce, scrambled eggs, and veggies in a wok or large skillet.

Drizzle some light soy sauce for a touch of extra flavor.

Greens with Hoisin Sauce

For a healthier option, consider serving your crispy pork belly with some greens.

Steamed bok choy, or Chinese broccoli, contrasts with the rich, crunchy meat.

Add a drizzle of hoisin sauce, and you’ll have a vibrant, well-rounded side dish that balances out the meal.

Chili Sauce for Dipping

An excellent way to enhance the flavors of your Chinese crispy pork belly is by preparing a delicious dipping sauce to serve on the side.

Mix chili sauce, light soy sauce, and a bit of rice vinegar together for a tangy and slightly spicy dipping sauce.

This combination adds a pleasant kick to the dish and provides a delightful contrast to the pork belly’s richness.

In conclusion, choosing suitable side dishes for your Chinese crispy pork belly can elevate your dining experience.

Remember to use fresh ingredients and play with flavors to enjoy the beauty of Chinese cuisine fully.

Ingredients Substitutes

When preparing Chinese Crispy Pork Belly, you might only sometimes have access to the exact ingredients required for the recipe.

In these cases, use these substitutes to achieve a similar result.

White Pepper Substitute

In case you don’t have white pepper, you can use black pepper as a substitute.

Although the flavor is slightly different, it will still provide that spicy undertone.

Use the same amount of black pepper as you would white pepper, but keep in mind that black pepper is a bit stronger, so adjust to taste.

Vinegar Substitute

If you’re out of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar can be used as a suitable alternative.

While their flavors differ, they will still provide the necessary acidity for the recipe.

Use the same amount of apple cider or rice vinegar as white vinegar.

White Sugar Substitute

When you don’t have white sugar, you can replace it with brown sugar.

The flavor profile will shift a bit towards caramel-like notes, but it will still work well in the dish.

Substitute the white sugar with an equal amount of brown sugar.

Pork Belly Substitute

For those who can’t find or prefer not to use pork belly, consider the following alternatives:

  1. Pork bacon: With a thinner cut and higher protein content, uncured pork bacon can work as an alternative to pork belly.
  2. Turkey bacon: While it has a different nutrient ratio and taste, turkey bacon can be an option if you have no other choices. 

Remember to adapt your cooking methods and quantities when using these substitutes in your Chinese Crispy Pork Belly recipe.

By doing so, you can still create a delicious dish that resembles the original.

How to Store Chinese Crispy Pork Belly?

Storing Chinese crispy pork belly properly will help you maintain its delicious taste and texture.

Here are some tips and guidelines on how to store your finished dish and make the most out of it.

Before storing your cooked pork belly, remove any excess salt on the surface.

You don’t want the flavor to become too salty, and excessive salt may affect the crispiness of the skin over time.

When you’ve removed the excess salt, give your pork belly a light coating of white sugar.

You can use around 1 tsp of sugar per pound of pork belly.

This creates a barrier around the meat, keeping it moist while also preventing any strong odors from altering its flavor.

Adding a splash of rice wine to your storage container is another way to help preserve your pork belly.

The rice wine acts as a natural preservative and adds a subtle depth of flavor to your dish.

Now that you’ve prepared your pork belly for storage, here are a few popular storage methods:

Refrigeration

The most common way to store Chinese crispy pork belly is in the refrigerator.

Place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, make sure to reheat it in the oven or on the stovetop to regain its crispy texture.

Freezing

If you want to store your pork belly for a longer period, freezing is your best option.

Make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in an airtight container or freezer bag.

This method will keep your pork belly fresh for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Vacuum Sealing

Another long-term storage option is to vacuum seal your pork belly.

This method can extend its shelf life for several months.

After sealing, you can either keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or store it in the freezer for even longer.

As with freezing, fully thaw your vacuum-sealed pork belly in the refrigerator before reheating.

Always remember to use your senses to judge the quality of your stored Chinese crispy pork belly.

If it smells off or shows signs of spoilage, it’s best to discard it and not consume it.

Proper storage ensures you can enjoy this delicious dish whenever you please, knowing it’s safe and tasty.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when preparing Chinese Crispy Pork Belly.

Not pricking enough holes in the skin.

Not pricking enough holes in the skin will result in less crispy crackling.

To achieve that beautiful bubbly texture, use an ice pick or a tool similar to what the Chinese use and create as many holes as possible.

This will allow the fat to come out during the roasting process, yielding perfectly crispy skin.

Incorrect seasoning

Using the right seasonings is crucial for a flavorful Chinese roast pork belly.

Avoid using black pepper and focus on traditional Chinese ingredients like Shaoxing wine, five spice powder, and white pepper.

Don’t forget to balance the flavors with salt and sugar.

Not using a wire rack and baking tray.

It is essential to use a wire rack and baking tray during the cooking process.

Place the piece of pork belly skin-side up on the wire rack set over a baking sheet.

This method allows for even distribution of heat and proper circulation of air, ensuring a perfect crispy pork belly every time.

Not brushing the skin with vinegar.

Brushing the skin with vinegar is crucial to achieve the perfect crispiness.

Vinegar helps to break down the skin, allowing it to crisp up when roasted. Be sure to brush the skin evenly and generously before baking.

Overlooking cooking time and temperature

Paying attention to cooking time and temperature is essential to prevent burning or undercooking the pork belly.

Start by roasting the pork belly at a lower temperature (e.g., 350°F/180°C) for about an hour.

Then, increase the heat to a higher temperature (e.g., 425°F/220°C) and cook for an additional 45 minutes to get that perfect crispy skin and juicy pork belly.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be on your way to creating the perfect Chinese Crispy Pork Belly.

chinese crispy pork belly recipe

Chinese Crispy Pork Belly Recipe

Chinese crispy pork belly is a beloved dish that showcases the culinary prowess of Chinese cooking.
With its perfect combination of succulent meat and crispy, crackling skin, it's no wonder that this dish has won the hearts of food lovers worldwide.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 8
Equipment
  • sharp metal skewer
  • Oven
  • a small bowl.
  • baking rack
Ingredients
  
  • 1 slab of skin-on pork belly about 1-2 kg
  • 1 tbsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 6 tbsp coarse salt for salt crust
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
Instructions
 
  • First, prepare your workspace by making sure it is clean and organized.
    Gather all of your ingredients and equipment, including a sharp metal skewer.
  • Use the sharp metal skewer to poke lots of holes evenly and systematically all over the pork belly skin.
    This will allow the fat to render and crisp up the skin during cooking.
  • Flip the pork belly over to expose the meat.
    Mix the five-spice powder, 2 tsp kosher salt, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl.
    Rub this spice mixture thoroughly into the heart.
  • Turn the pork belly skin-side up.
    Make sure it is scorched.
    Gently rub the skin with vinegar, and then evenly sprinkle the coarse salt to form a salt crust, leaving a 1cm perimeter around the edges.
  • Preheat your oven to 240°C (465°F).
  • Place the pork belly on a baking rack, skin-side up.
    Roast the pork belly in the preheated oven on the top rack, nearer to the heating element, for 15-20 minutes.
  • After the initial roasting time, remove the pork belly from the oven and carefully brush off the salt crust.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 180°C (355°F) and return the pork belly to the oven for an additional 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches around 70°C (160°F) and the skin has become crispy.
  • Allow the pork belly to rest for about 10 minutes to ensure tenderness.
    Once rested, slice the crispy pork belly into bite-sized pieces and serve.

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